Phil McKinney – Chief Innovation Officer at HP Labs in Palo Alto is one of the innovation thinkers I have been following. He writes in his Blog about the “7 Immutable Laws of Innovation“ (read below). Here are a some of my favorites. See what you think . . .
1.) Law of Leadership – Executives need to be involved and demonstrate their genuine interest in the innovation outcome. “reading progress reports does not count”. The involvement must be visible. Innovation is “pushed” from the bottom up AND must be “pulled” trough from the top. One key way execs can help is to remove roadblocks for the innovation team.
2) Law of Culture — We create an effective innovation culture by rewarding and recognizing correct attitudes and behaviors (like all prior assumptions SHOULD be questioned), and calling out unproductive ones (like ‘not invented here’). Creating a bias for collective exploration and experimentation is helpful.
3) Law of Resources — Innovation takes time, and resources. If it is important enough to do, it should be important enough to support with time and budget. (This is another way executives signal their commitment.)
5) Law of Process — Innovation is not serendipitous. It can (and should) follow a distinct process. You can build an innovation system that is both methodical and creative. Its’ effectiveness can (and should) be tracked with thoughtful metrics. With that said, however, consider:
4) Law of Patience — sometimes innovation does not follow a linear path, and involves trial and error. Be careful not to pull the plug too early on ideas that show promise. Consider especially carefully those initiatives aimed at addressing core business drivers — like those that seem to be getting worse over time, or getting more important over time. These can either kill us or leave us behind if we fail to innovate around them.
7) Law of Execution — It isn’t innovation if the idea is not implemented successfully. Balancing the short-term operating needs of the business with the need to experimentally launch new ideas (that are unproven) is important. Organizations like Mayo Clinic have learned to pilot ideas on a small-scale to prove concepts before making wholesale process changes. This is one logical way to minimize risk.